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Information Handbook

Applying for benefits

When do I apply?

Apply for benefits the same week you become unemployed or your hours are greatly reduced.

How do I apply?howDoApply

Apply online or by phone following the instructions and schedules below:


Go to

Select Applicants and then Apply for Benefits. You can apply online from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. , Sunday through Friday.

By phone

Call Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Choose: English, Spanish, Hmong, or Somali. If you need another language, follow the steps on Contact Customer Service page to speak to a representative and request an interpreter.

  • Twin Cities area: 651-296-3644
  • Greater Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090
  • Teletypewriter (TTY) users: 1-866-814-1252

After you apply, we will mail you information about your benefits and how to request payments (see Requesting Benefit Payments). The information includes your weekly benefit amount if you are eligible for benefits (see How much will I receive? ).

What if I'm unemployed for a reason other than layoff?otherReason

If you are unemployed for any reason other than lack of work, Minnesota law requires that we follow a process to determine if you are eligible for benefits.

  1. During the application we ask questions about why you are unemployed.
  2. We will ask your employer the same questions.
  3. We will review your answers and your employer’s answers to determine if you are eligible for benefits.
  4. We will mail you and your employer a determination that tells you if you are eligible. Either you or your employer can appeal the determination.

It is important that you provide detailed information about the way your employment ended. If we do not have enough information, we may not be able to determine your eligibility for benefits.

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